Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Home Has Quirks

I'm adjusting to a few idiosyncrasies I've discovered about my apartment. The one requiring the most attention is the moisture build-up. During the night the insides of many of the windows get covered with condensation (primarily the ones in the bedroom and laundry room, but it happens to a lesser amount in the living room too) which runs down and pools on the windowsills. So every morning I have to go and wipe it up in order to prevent massive amounts of mold. It's probably time to look into some moisture-absorbing packs of some kind. My friend Bonnie was telling me about some reusable ones that you can plug in once they are full of water, and it dehydrates them again. Anyway, in spite of the decent insulation and the modern windows in my apartment, something in the design makes them prone to large amounts of condensation, which requires attention every day. Also, the floors are freezing. Lovely flooring, but really cold! I have a suspicion that the flooring was laid directly on a concrete pad, with no insulation in between.

The lighting was another issue. I've had to buy some tall floor lamps (thank you, Ikea) to help light the living room and kitchen, because the ceiling lights were dim and the beams in the ceiling blocked the light from half the room. Then, on Sunday, the main ceiling light in the kitchen went out, so I took off the globe and found that there was only one light bulb in there, when there could have been two! I took the globes off the identical lights in the living room and bedroom, and found the same thing- HA! I walked down the street to the hardware store and got some compact fluorescent bulbs- I thought I was getting the "soft white" ones, but accidentally got the daylight spectrum, which turned out to be a happy mistake. At first I was dismayed by the bright white light (an old coworker of mine referred to those as "alien autopsy lights"), but then realized just how much more they lit up the room. The floor lamps are still necessary, but the extra daylight-spectrum bulb makes a huge difference.

So now my bedroom has gone from this:

To this:

It's SO much nicer. I was lamenting how terrible the light in my apartment was for taking pictures, and this has improved it immensely. I never use the flash anyway, because it washes everything out, and now I really don't need to. In the kitchen, you can really tell the difference in the light quality:


The curry sauce is a super easy one from Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food. I made it with some delicious chicken from a stewing hen that was cooked up in the crockpot, and found that it keeps really well as leftovers too. I made the pie on Saturday night, in a fit of late-night baking. I still had two gallon bags of frozen apple pie filling I made back in September, and one of them sprang a leak in the freezer and left an ooze of gummy sugary syrup all over the other frozen things, so I decided to go ahead and bake it up. And then realized that it takes one person (even me!) a long time to eat through an entire pie, so I ended up taking some to friends. It turned out pretty good, even if the texture of the apples wasn't as nice as with fresh ones.

The best side effect of pie-making: the little strips of leftover crust, baked up on their own with cinnamon and sugar. Yum! 

Speaking of baking, I've also discovered that my oven bakes quite a bit hotter than the one I was used to. I haven't actually charred anything yet, but my latest batch of bread came out far crustier than I would normally go for. I'll need to experiment a little bit with the timing and temperatures and modify my recipe. 

One other quirk I ran up against is funny in retrospect, although I almost had a breakdown about it at the time. The second night I lived here, I went to use the shower for the first time, and couldn't for the life of me figure out how to turn the shower on. I could tell that the water pressure and temperature were great, but it was only coming out of the tap, and there was no little tab or thing to pull or push to divert the water into the showerhead. I tried everything I could think of, and looked everywhere, and began to wonder if I had inadvertently rented an apartment that didn't have a functional shower, and that the landlord hadn't informed me of this particular fact, and got really wound up about it. It was too late at night to call him and ask, so I took a bath instead, and called the next day. He directed me to pull down on the ring around the bottom of the tap, right where the water comes out. I had tried that numerous times, and couldn't make it work. Finally the maintenance guy came and manhandled it into position. I'd never seen a shower that worked that way, although in all of my efforts I had tried it--but the fitting was so very stuck I couldn't make it budge. The first few times after that, I had to really yank on it, but by now it has loosened sufficiently that it's not an issue at all.

Really, it's a good little place, just some new things to get used to, most of which make funny stories in the end.

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